Bournemouth council, a major English local authority, has voted to reject calls for compulsory licensing for landlords.
Instead, the council say, the problems which mandatory licensing
would seek to address will be tackled by using the council's
existing powers to clamp down on any landlords who abuse the law.
The council issued a report which analysed responses from both
residents and landlords, and arrived at the decision to move
against the trend elsewhere - such as in Newham - towards
In the wake of the decision Councillor Rob Lawton, housing
portfolio holder, was quick to reassure the public that this did
not mean the council was going soft on rogue landlords: "Make no
mistake -if a landlord does not comply with legislation the council
will prosecute them."
Council leader Councillor John Beesley offered a more ambivalent
response, making it clear that he was still sympathetic with
advocates of compulsory licensing: "I thought licensing was the
answer, but lessons from other local authorities are
"We want to get it right and tackle as many problems as we can.
Working with other bodies is the absolute key."
The report which rejected compulsory licensing schemes
The report itself, freely available to access from the
Bournemouth council website
here, noted that residents themselves were largely in favour of
a licensing scheme: "Residents were clearly supportive of an
Additional Licensing Scheme, either on its own (52%) or in
combination with a better Accreditation Scheme (34%)."
However landlords were less keen: "The opinion of landlords was
divided, with very few supporting any kind of Additional Licensing
Scheme. Around one third of landlords (36%) favoured
continuing with the current schemes and initiatives (Option
4). One quarter (26%) would welcome extending the
Accreditation Scheme and a further quarter (24%) didn't favour any
of the options put forward."
In the end, the report concludes that, "In light of the
consultation and examination of the data, the Council will need to
consider making greater use of enforcement powers, further develop
the landlord accreditation scheme and create stronger partnership
working with stakeholders."
14 November 2012